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You have probably heard of interactive fiction before, but what on earth are branching stories? Glad you asked!

What do we mean when we talk about branching stories?

When a user is reading a story in the Sana Stories app, they are occasionally presented with two choices that will take the story in two different directions.The reader will pick one of the presented options and, in that sense, control what happens in the story.  Giving readers these options to explore alternative scenes, plotlines and endings is what we call branching stories. Stories like these can also be referred to as interactive stories.

Why should I write branching stories?

If you’re an author looking to have more people reading your stories, writing branching stories could be very beneficial to you. Writing branching stories doesn’t just expand your audience, it can have many different advantages compared to traditional linear stories. We’re going to explore a few of the benefits below:

1. Stand out among the crowd

The competition for getting one’s work seen is higher than ever. It’s very easy for your stories to drown in the mass of books being published. For example, there are currently six million books available for Amazon Kindle—and this number grows everyday. We all strive to write good and interesting stories in order to engage people to read our work. You can stand out by writing well, but you can stand out even more by writing in a different, more engaging format.

2. Engage your readers on a whole different level

We all love books that can really suck us in and make us feel like we’re actually there with the characters. But no matter how invested we are in the story, we are always just passive spectators—we can never really be there ourselves to influence the story. This is exactly what interactive stories are about! The defining point of interactive stories is that readers can interact with the world themselves and make an impact. By making choices, readers get much more invested in the story and connect with the characters in a way they never could with traditional, linear books.

3. Boost re-readability

How many times do you read the same book? There’s usually very little motivation to read a book again, unless you really enjoyed it. With branching stories, a story can play out differently depending on what choices were made when reading. Stories can have multiple plotlines or endings which makes the possibilities endless! Depending on how complex the branching is, one book can contain many vastly different versions of the same story. This gives your reader a reason to re-read your story many times—if they enjoyed it the first time, they will want to explore every angle of your story!

4. Explore your story

With branching stories, you as the author get the opportunity to explore different storylines within the same story. You can write multiple endings, give different versions of your characters a go, explore different ways a scene might go—in short, explore every option! You never have to limit yourself to only one idea. And noone can tell you how complex or simple the branching should be. If you only need it for two different endings, that’s fine! It’s your story after all.

5. Make money

Writing stories just for fun is, well, fun, but it would be nice to get some compensation for all that hard work. Very few authors make it in the retail publishing world and many self-publishing channels require the authors to pay for the privilege of getting their story published.

With Sana Stories, anyone can publish their story and all stories published in the Sana Stories app are eligible for receiving royalties. Right now we are also offering a testing reward for all stories that are written using our Writing Tool and published in the Sana Stories app. We are also currently hosting a writing contest where the winners are offered rewards of up to 500€. In the future we will explore options to offer popular authors in the Sana Stories app the possibility of writing premium stories for us, to be compensated to industry standards, on top of royalties. It can literally pay to get started now!

6. Not convinced yet? Check out these stories!

Chances are that you are more familiar with branching stories than you think. Interactive storytelling has been around for a long time in many different shapes.

Are you familiar with Tell Tale’s games? These are very story-driven games where the player’s choices enhance the player’s experience as the story moves along. Do you remember the old Choose your own adventure books? Same concept, but in an actual book format! You can still find books today that work in a similar way, take for example Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure, My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel, or any story from the Sana Stories app! Our most ambitious example would be the Black Mirror episode Bandersnatch—instead of a game or a book, you can control a whole Netflix episode as it plays out on your TV. And these are just scratching the surface of interactive stories!

Are you ready to start writing your branching story?

If you’re still wondering whether writing branching stories is for you, why don’t you start by familiarising yourself with writing branching stories a bit more? You can find our recommended best practices for writing branching stories here. Or check out our For writers page here, our hub for everything you need to know about our Writing Tool and about submitting your branching story to be published in the app. You can find more information about how your stories work in the Sana Stories app here.

And How do Sana Stories Work?

Sana Stories is a free reading app for romantic, erotic and thrilling original stories and books where the reader gets to choose between multiple storylines and different endings. At interesting points defined by the authors, Sana Stories present the reader with two choices that can affect how the story they’re reading continues. Stories that have these options, and the potential for alternative endings and plotlines, is what we call branching stories.

Our focus is on providing entertaining stories for adult women. Most of our books are within the romance genre and some also feature erotic themes. We are all about those delicious character arcs and sizzling chemistry! We aim to be a platform for diverse stories from a diverse group of authors. All of our stories are written in English.

To keep the reading experience more book-like, choices made while reading a story cannot be undone, but the reader can restart the story at any time. If they exit a book mid-read, the app will remember where the user left off. The app can keep track of the latest 10 books the user is reading. The stories can be long or short and their branching can be simple or complex. We have chosen to allow a maximum of two choices at a time specifically because it makes the stories simple to create, yet the possibilities for branching storylines are endless. 

Unlike our competitors, we do not limit reading with pay-per-chapter systems. Our readers can read as much as they want, and they can switch between books as they please. Additionally, readers never have to pay to make the choice they want. Readers can either wait a bit, watch ads, or subscribe to keep reading as much as they want.

We are also determined to make Sana a fair place for authors. The app tracks how much each book is read using our wordcount mechanic that can be seen at the top-right of the screen when reading a story in Sana. We pay 25% of Sana’s subscription revenue to our authors based on how much their books are read by all subscribed users. In addition, authors keep all rights to their content and IPs when working with Sana.

With branching stories, readers can influence how the story unfolds, which gets them more invested in their reading. You can read more about the perks of branching fiction in our blogpost “What are branching stories and why should I write them?”

Would you like to create your own branching story? Try our Sana Writing Tool here and read more about publishing your story with us here

Writing branching or interactive stories can feel challenging if you have never tried it before. We’re excited that you’re taking on this challenge with us! How you write a branching story can vary slightly depending on your platform. In this guide we’ll be focusing on how to write branching stories for our platform Sana Stories, using our Sana Writing Tool.

You can read more about our writing tool here. A more in-depth guide for using the Sana Writing Tool can be found here.

In this guide we’ll focus on our recommended best practices for designing the branching stories themselves.

Let’s start with some terminology and how the stories are built in the Sana app.

Story Structure

First things first! Branching stories in the Sana app are built around these three elements:

  • Story blocks
  • Choices
  • Branches

Story blocks contain the actual text of the story. You can think of them as short scenes interrupted by choices that lead into new scenes. One block can, and usually should, contain several paragraphs of text. A typical length for one block is 200–300 words, but this can vary depending on the needs of your story. For readers, the blocks just look like long pages of text.

Choices interrupt the story to let the reader pick a direction. Technically speaking, which of the following two blocks do they want to read. In the app, choices look like buttons that contain a single sentence: a choice prompt. This sentence should give the reader enough clues about what lies beyond the choice. The Sana app supports giving readers two options at a time to choose from. So, technical speak: each block can have two choices leading out from that block—and as many leading into it as you need!

Branches are the combination of blocks and choices, the different paths your story can take. A story always starts from a single block, then branches off into different, well, branches. These branches can then either be brought back together into the main branch, from which they can branch off again, or the different branches can split further. Your story can also branch off into different endings! But remember: a single branch, from the beginning to the end, must always contain a complete story that is logical and understandable in itself, without the information from the blocks and choices it skips. Otherwise your readers will be really confused!

If you’re getting confused yourself—don’t worry! Thinking about your stories in this new way will get easier with practice, we promise.

Story Outline

Before you begin drafting your story, it usually helps to sketch an outline to review the breakdown of plot points and character development. Post-it notes or other visual ways of planning the structure can help.

You can write a short summary of each chapter or section, even each block, if that helps you understand your story’s structure better. (Don’t worry about getting every detail right, it’s always good to leave room for some improvisation. Your characters might have their own ideas on where to take the story!)

It’s also a good idea to already include in the outline the choices you will give the readers. Like with the outline, don’t sweat the details. That’s what revisions are for!

Along with your outline, it might be helpful to write down brief biographies and physical descriptions for your characters. This way you won’t forget the color of their shirt. Or hair!

Choice Design

Designing the choices is often the trickiest part of writing a branching story! Here we’ll give you several tips on how to become an expert at it.

The basics

Currently, the Sana app supports giving readers two options per choice. It’s a good idea to make the options different enough from each other. They should also give the reader a clear hint of what happens beyond each choice. 

Choice options are usually written either in the same point of view (POV) as the story or from the POV of an omniscient 3rd person narrator. They can be actions or dialogue. It’s best to keep each choice option short, one line of dialogue or one sentence per action (an ideal length is no more than 100 characters, the max limit is 255).

Choices should ideally be paced out throughout the story in such a way that readers are prompted to make choices often enough, but not after every couple of lines.

Please note that currently Sana app doesn’t support the kind of complex conditional variables that are often used in more game-like interactive fiction. This is because we want our stories to feel more like books than games. (Please see “Types of choices to avoid” below for more information.)

Also note that choices are not monetized. There are no premium choices; readers never have to pay to make a certain choice.

Simple choices, nesting choices

Simple choices give readers a choice between two different scenes, both of which then come back into the main branch, where the story continues as one. 

But sometimes one choice option will lead to more choices, creating nesting choices and multiple branches. These, too, can eventually come back to a main branch, or maybe they will lead to different endings!

Types of choices we recommend

  • Choices with Consequences: Strong choices lead to immediate consequences that readers experience right away. The consequences can be big or small, simply lead to a different scene, or completely split the story into two separate plotlines.
  • “Non-Judgmental” Choices: The choice doesn’t present “right” and “wrong” options, nor does the writer seem to inject their own opinion or moral judgment based on what the reader chooses. A non-judgmental choice doesn’t mean that it won’t lead to negative consequences, but any consequence should feel like a natural story progression, not that the reader is being punished for making the “wrong” decision.
  • Difficult Choices: Difficult choices are great! These can present two awesome options the reader has a difficult time choosing between, or two heartbreaking options the reader agonizes over.
  • Choices Revealing Different Facets of the Protagonist’s Personality: The options you give can show off different parts of the protagonist’s personality. For example, one dialogue option might be more sarcastic, while the other is more forgiving. Naturally, the different options should also lead to scenes where this difference is obvious and matters.

Types of choices to avoid or use sparingly

  • Choices with Conditional Structure / If-Then Choices: Choices with conditional structures are very common in more game-like interactive fiction. They add an if-then condition to a choice, which then later in the story results in different text being shown to the reader based on that early choice. Our current system is not designed with these types of structures in mind, and the only way to represent them is to make each if-then choice into its own branch. The further away from the original choice the conditional alternative text is, the more complex the branches become. For this reason, these types of choices are best avoided. 
  • One-Choice Options: Readers are only given one option, an action or a line of dialogue, which  they must choose to continue reading. These one-choice options simply transition the reader from one part of the story to the next. They can be used to break up longer chapters, or to bring the story back to a main branch. In these cases, a simple “Continue” will usually do the trick.
  • Synonymous Choices: Choices where it is difficult for the reader to see a difference between the two options. It’s as if both options are the same, only the prompts are written a little differently. If these similar options do lead to very different outcomes, readers are likely to be confused. And if they lead to very similar scenes, readers might be disappointed. 
  • Uninformed / Confusing Choices: Readers have no idea what the options will lead to or what the consequences (positive or negative) will be. Some surprises are good, but readers should be able to forecast what might happen based on what they choose.
  • Meaningless Choices: Readers want to experience the effects of the choices they make, even if that choice is a relatively minor one, such as the choice between two different locations for a date night. Choices should always have consequences! In the example of two different locations, the different locations could then have an influence on the events of the story, or highlight different aspects of the characters. 
  • Illusory Choices: Readers are presented with two choices, but the second one is illusory and leads them into the first one. These types of choices can be extremely frustrating for readers, because they can feel tricked into making a choice they didn’t want, or they might wonder why they had the options in the first place.

Writing tips

  • Much of interactive fiction is written in 2nd person point of view with “you the reader” as the main character. You can absolutely do this if that’s your jam, but usually more traditional 1st and 3rd person POVs are the better choice. Also note that 2nd person POV can be used without directly addressing the reader or inserting them as the main character. No matter which POV you choose, in branching stories it is best to stick to one POV throughout the whole story.
  • Use exclamation marks sparingly! When used in excess, they lose their effectiveness and can start to feel tiresome. Try to come up with other ways of conveying to the reader that your characters are shouting or excited.
  • Try to avoid using character dialogue to explain to the reader things the characters already know. This can make the dialogue feel heavy and unnatural. The best place for exposition is in the narration. 

For example, instead of having one character explain:

“As you know, Bobby,” I said, “my brother and I have been on our own ever since our dad disappeared. All he left us was this car and his diary, which contains a lot of useful information about various kinds of monsters. But you know us. We’ll manage somehow.”

Keep dialogue and narration separate, like this: 

“You know us, Bobby,” I said. “We’ll manage somehow.” There was no need to explain, he already knew it all—how our dad had disappeared, leaving my brother and me to fend for ourselves. At least Dad had left us the car, and his diary with all its useful information about various kinds of monsters.

  • Whenever possible, add sensory details to immerse readers in the scene. These can be anything that evoke sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell:

She tripped over the corner of the mildewed rug. Her ankle rolled under her weight, and she braced herself against the cold, dank floor as she fell. She gasped as the shock crept up through her palms and arms. Then several pangs shot across her foot and she slapped her hand over her mouth to keep from shouting. Reaching around in the dark and wincing from pain and the overwhelming smell of rot coating her throat, she found the wall and steadied herself, as her fingers scurried about cracks and pockmarks to find a light switch.

Sight
Sound
Touch
Taste
Smell

The more variety of sensory details, the better! The above example is crammed full of them, but in practice it’s often best to choose a few that best communicate the mood of the scene or the details you want readers to focus on. Thinking about it from your character’s POV, what are the things they notice about their surroundings?

  • Try to limit the length of your paragraphs to five lines or less. This is to make reading your story on small screens more comfortable. See if you can break up longer paragraphs into several shorter ones. Often it’s good practice to start a new paragraph whenever the focus shifts from one person or object to another.

So, what now?

Now that you have all this knowledge, you can dive right in and start writing your own branching story with our Sana Writing Tool. Even if everything still feels slightly complicated now, don’t worry. Nobody is perfect from the start and you really do learn as you go along. We believe that by following these steps anyone can become good at writing branching stories. 

Good luck! We can’t wait to read yours!

It’s never been, simultaneously, both easier and more difficult to be a fiction writer. On one hand, the internet is filled with helpful free resources for authors and large forum communities that offer support and guidance. On the other hand, as the number of tools and resources for authors expand, everyone can now write a story,  and the competition for getting one’s work seen is higher than ever. It’s very easy for one’s work to drown in the masses. For example: There are currently six million books available for Amazon Kindle – and this number grows everyday.

With so many options from which to choose from for readers, it’s never been more important for authors to find new, creative ways of getting their stories to stand out from the rest and engage others. One way to achieve this could be by utilizing branching stories together with us at Sana.

Using branching stories creates interactive storytelling that puts the reader in charge of different situations within the story, and allows them to craft reading experiences that are unique to them. It allows the reader to take the characters’ stories into their own hands, and thus enabling them to develop unique connections with the characters.

Imagine a story in which a man and a woman meet by chance at a coffee shop. They have a conversation and sparks begin to fly. The man then prompts the woman with a question: “Hey, what are you doing tonight? Fancy a few drinks?” In a traditional story, the author would already have decided that the woman would say yes, and the two of them would head out on their romantic date. In an interactive story, the reader could be left with two options: Have the woman say “Yes, of course!” or “Oh no, not today..”. Depending on the choice made by the reader, the man and the woman would either go on a romantic date, or they’d part ways – for now.

Branching stories with interactive storytelling have been around for decades, but only recently have writing tools for authors become more popular and accessible. We at Sana are also developing our own writing tool for branching stories. One of our main objectives with the tool is that any author could with our tool create or experiment with simple story structures for interactive branching stories, without needing to have any experience with interactive fiction or other writing tools. As an author finishes creating a branching story with our writing tool, it can then be submitted to us for publication within the Sana Stories app, where it’s then available to be read and enjoyed by all the Sana Stories app users. Authors are compensated based on how much their story is read.

Reading is an experience, and branching stories is a proven concept of making that experience even more memorable for the reader, while it allows the author to build even more complex worlds and situations for their characters. With a little help, any author has the potential to take on the world of interactive storytelling!

Would you like a sneak-peak at our incoming writing tool for creating branching stories? Before we officially launch the tool for everyone to use, we would like to conduct a test session where we ask authors to try out our tool and give us feedback in order to help us make the tool the best it can be. It doesn’t matter to us if you’re a beginner in interactive storytelling, or an expert in the field, all feedback is welcome!

Additionally: Should you complete a story while testing our writing tool and want to publish it in our Sana Stories app, then we would like to offer a testing fee of 100€/118$ or a giftcard for the same sum, to show our appreciation for helping us polish the tool.

We also offer royalties from your story being read in our app. Do you want to be one of our testers, or wan’t to know more? Send us an email at hello@sanastories.com or reach out to us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and we will happily tell you more!

In the 1985 edition of her comic strip “Dykes To Watch Out For”, American cartoonist Allison Bechel invented the concept of the Bechdel test. The test is designed to critique the representation of women in media, and asks if two women in a work of fiction can hold a conversation about something other than a man. While the test is not meant to be used as a be-all-end-all basis for judging female character representation, but rather as a means to understand and critique the presence of women in fictional media. 

The Bechdel test inspired a wave of similar tests to judge the representation of people of color, members of the LGBT community, and other marginalized groups. Among these tests were also more detailed and diverse waves of judging female representation, including the Sexy Lamp Test, invented by American cartoonist and English-language manga adapter Kelly Sue DeConnick. The Sexy Lamp test asks, if a female character was replaced by a literal sexy lamp, would the story change at all?

Many media critics find the Sexy Lamp test to be, in a way, more telling than the Bechdel test on which it was based.  While the Bechdel test questions how female characters are written, the Sexy Lamp test questions their relation to the story as a whole, and whether or not they even matter. Is it better to have two women fight over a man in a work of fiction, or to have one woman who simply exists in the narrative, but doesn’t do anything more than simply exist and be sexy? 

A famous example of a sexy lamp can be found in the character Cosette, from the 1862 literary classic “Les Miserables”. Critics of media have had their issues with Cosette’s character since before the concept of Sexy Lamps, or even the Bechdel test, as she is often used as a blank canvas in relation to other characters in the novel. The story happens to and around her, but she is not an active part of the story.

Others have pointed out that Bella Swan, the main female lead in the “Twilight” novel series, could be considered a sexy lamp, as she has no real character arc that’s independent of her male love interest, Edward. 

How To Avoid Sexy Lamps

If an author wants to include a woman or women in their story, they must first ask themselves what purpose do those women serve, and is the story enhanced in some way by the female character? If her role is to exist solely for being the mandatory female in a story, then this character is contradicting its own purpose. This same line of thought can be applied to other character groups as well, such as people of color and members of the LGBT community.  When a piece of media includes members of such a group only for symbolic reasons or to give the illusion of an inclusive story, it is referred to as tokenism, and it is not helpful to the cause of more inclusive and diverse storytelling.

Every character in a story should serve a purpose of their own, and not just exist to have events happen to them. Not every character needs to be as developed as a story lead character, but all characters in a story should have a cause, or influence the story in some way. If authors can commit to writing more well-rounded characters, especially more well-rounded female characters, then the readers’ experiences could benefit exponentially!

Character cliches and tropes are almost always negative, and can quite often imply that an author has not taken enough time to develop their character, or that they are relying on stereotypes to paint their character’s identity. We’ve sat down and compiled a list of character tropes that we wish existed, and that we think authors could use instead.

The Badass Who Loves Cats

He’s a bad boy that doesn’t play by the rules. He breaks hearts and laws all the same. . He seems invincible, untouchable – but he’s got one weakness that paws at his hearts: cats. We can already imagine a story in which someone falls for this rebel without a cause, only to come home with him to find he’s got two cats who he treats like royalty!

LGBT Farmers

The farmer stereotype in media usually portrays a man in overalls throwing heavy hay bales with his bare hands. Usually, he’s some kind of older “grandfather” character, with old-fashioned views on life and society. But we know from experience that farmers come in more flavors than just one. We’d love to see a romance story featuring two farmers who are members of the LGBT community, and how their unconventional farm ways affect their dating lives. Yeehaw!

Nerdy Arabs

We spoke to an Arab friend recently who expressed deep frustration with the way Arabs are usually portrayed in media. In his view, it’s rare to see an Arab character that he can relate to. The average Arab in media is either trying to break free from overbearing parents or portraying any number of negative, racist stereotypes. For once, our friend said, he’d love to read about an Arab character that’s just as goofy and nerdy as he is. Someone who likes comic books and fandoms, and who spends his days playing video games, or watching superhero films.

Smart People Who Are Also Kind

We’ve all come across the typical “smug nerd” character in a story. They know everything and frequently have the social skills or patience to make them likable. We’d love to see more well-developed characters who are smart and solve problems, but who are also kind to those around them, and who have more depth than just inelegance.

Non-Binary People Who Are Normal

It’s rare to see non-binary characters in media. In the rare cases that a non-binary character is well-developed, they are almost always a caricature of queerness, with the author trying to tick off as many LGBTQ+ stereotypes in one go.  In reality, the non-binary experience is not nearly as glamourous or over-the-tp, with the average “enbie” wanting to simply be accepted for who they are.

Plus-Sized People Who Are Also Fit

The role of plus-sized people in media is almost always as comic relief.  In reality, millions of plus-sized people live happy lives and don’t appreciate only being portrayed negatively in media. A character who is both curvy and a fitness fanatic would do wonders for representation and could help show the world that there are many different kinds of “healthy” bodies. 

Bisexuals Who Are Serious

Bisexuality is a valid sexual identity, in which a person is attracted to both men and women. In media, bisexual women are usually portrayed as not really being interested in women, or as only being bisexual after a night of drinking. In the real world, bisexuals of any gender are not just sexual playthings, but rather people who fall in love with others for who they are, not what they are.  We’d love to see more stories about bisexual love that acknowledge bisexuality as a serious sexual identity.

Have you read, or even better, written a story with one of these characters in it? We want to know! Our CEO especially wants to hear about the badass with cats! 😉

 

Starting to write interactive fiction can seem like staring into the vast waters, the possibilities within the genre like waves crashing in, unable to steer the boat clear of the storm.
In this post, we’ll discuss five simple steps an author can take when beginning to test the waters of writing branching stories.

1. Read Some Interactive Fiction

Reading interactive stories of different lengths and genres is a great way to find out what has been done before. It is essential for an author to understand how such stories should flow and connect. Some interactive stories are longer and can be more complex than others. We recommend reading a variety of different stories to get a grasp of what possibilities there are. The Sana app features both short stories with relatively simple branchings like “Flyover States” and “Under your Skin”, and longer more complex stories like “The Primrose” and its sequel “The Primrose and the Royal Pirate Brigade”. As for physical books, we would recommend reading “My Lady’s Choosing: An Interactive Romance Novel” by Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris or “Romeo and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure” by Ryan North. Understanding what’s possible, what has been done before, and identifying what readers find the most interesting is one of the most important steps an aspiring author can take before beginning their own interactive story writing journey.

2. Decide On Your Level of Complexity

As mentioned before, interactive stories can be either as simple or complex as the author want it to be. However, we recommend that authors keep the structure of their first interactive stories simple and not too convoluted. A simple and straightforward “A or B” choice structure will help the first stories not be too overwhelming for the author to write. All published stories in the Sana app are made using a simple 2-choice branching system, and yet there’s no limit to how simple or complicated they can be. Our team thinks that this system is ideal for anyone who wants to create their own branching stories.

3. Make an Outline

Creating an outline is a helpful step in creating any written work, but when it comes to writing interactive stories, creating an outline is essential. An outline helps the author better understand where their story is going and how the choices available to the reader are being connected to the main plot. In an outline, the author defines the basic idea of their story, major plot points, and where and how the reader will be able to interact with the story. An outline helps the author stay focused and allows them to concentrate on how the reader’s choices will connect with one another. This makes it also easier to early on spot potential problems with the story structure or plot.

4. Get Some Feedback

Receiving feedback from people who regularly read and/or write interactive stories is a great way to understand how stories can be optimized and improved. Asking for feedback in the early stages of a creative endeavor might seem intimidating, but feedback gained in the early stages of the writing process can really save time and headaches later on. Keeping an open mind and being open to feedback and critique will help make the story the best it can be! We recommend asking for feedback from places like the interactive fiction subreddit or the Interactive Fiction Community Forum.

5. Write!

Once your story has a solid outline, it’s time to really start writing! While some dialog and other pieces of text might have been drafted out during the outline process, it is now that those pieces and the rest of the story becomes more fleshed out. Remember to keep your writing documents well organized and have your story sections clearly labeled, trust us on this one -writing interactive fiction in a linear matter can get very disorienting very quickly-

Trying something new, and stepping out of one’s comfort zone aren’t always an easy thing to do, but with some proper research, planning, listening to feedback and practice, we think that any author can make the jump from traditional fiction to branching fiction!

Have you thought about creating an interactive story? Are you looking for a tool to test the waters on for your first interactive story? Or are you an already experienced writer who’s looking for an intuitive and simple-to-use tool for you to write your new interactive story on, or are you interested in converting some of your existing work into a more immersive experience for your readers? 

We at Sana Stories are currently developing our own tool for creating branching stories. Right now we are looking for writers who could test our yet unpublished tool and give us feedback. We would be happy to receive feedback from anyone who would like to play around with it. However, should you complete a piece while testing our writing tool and want to publish it in our Sana app, then we would like to offer a testing fee of 100€/118$ or a giftcard for the same sum, to show our appreciation for helping us polish the tool. We would also offer royalties from your story being read in our app.

If you would like to be a tester of our writing tool, or wan’t to know more, send us an email at hello@sanastories.com or reach out to us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and we will gladly tell you more!

Hello everyone, and welcome to the Sana Stories blog!

We wanted to have a place for book reviews and writing tips, so a blog was a natural choice. If you want to learn more about branching stories, interactive stories, or stories published on Sana, this is the place for you!

On Sana app we publish branching romantic fiction. We especially value diversity and inclusiveness, so there are LGBTQ+ stories, hetero romances, and genre fiction such as sci-fi and fantasy. Themes of romance and relationships are the combining factor of all stories.

If you are thinking about writing a story for Sana, knowing what is currently popular is quite handy, so here’s a list of the favourites:

5. “Max and Rose” by Anni Nupponen is a long time favourite. On a starbase on a distant planet is stationed to guard against any new threats after a devastating war. Rose is working on the base as a Station Master, and somehow ends up making a bet with the new commander, Max Ford. Rose is not the one to fall for any pretty face, but Max has stirred the whole base into frantic action to compete for the attention of the new commander.

Tags: Sci-fi, He + She

4. “Bonds of the Ninja” by Michelle Clough tells the story of Kotaro, a ninja warrior hired to kill a warlord. Kotaro knows his old lover, Masamoto, is hired by the warlord he has now set out to kill. They have lots of unfinished business, but Kotaro is focused on the task at hand. Or tries to be…

Tags: Historical, Japan, He + He

3. “Dark Hunger Blue” by LaShawn M. Wanak is an afro-futuristic tale of space, where human consciousness can be transferred into a spaceship, corporations trade in asteroids with no concern to people living on them, and moringa flowers are grown in surprising places. How will things unfold when a person turned into a spaceship runs into his old lover?

Tags: Afro-futurism, Sci-fi, He + She

2. “Sterling” by dave ring is the winner of our Supernatural Romance writing contest. It tells about Declan, a psychic bodyguard, who finds himself in the midst of a power struggle between ancient houses of aurens, immensely powerful creatures that look like humans. Declan would never have suspected that his poor success in dating is also about to turn during this turmoil. 

Tags: Supernatural, He + He

1. “The Primrose” by Heidi McDonald is a historical fiction story about a young british lady in the Victorian era. The main character is a (mostly) proper lady by day, the daughter of a nobleman working in the secret war against pirates, but seems that the apple hasn’t fallen too far from the tree. There’s also a sequel available on Sana: The Primrose and the Royal Pirate Brigade

Tags: Historical, Victorian, He + She